There are many times when I am searching for something and I ask my wife where it is and she tells me ‘it is there just in front of you’. I’m sure I’m not the only one this happens to. Sometimes we cannot see what is in front of us because we are looking further afield, other times we can be so overwhelmed by everything that we literally cannot see the wood for the trees.
In our Scriptures today, we are told; yet again; that man does not see things as God sees them. In the first reading Samuel is sent to Jesse to choose one of his sons to be king. The way humans choose these things is to look at the eldest, the most powerful, the strongest. All things which can be seen by the eye. However, God looks at the heart; what is inside the person. God chooses the youngest son, the one who tends the sheep and the lambs. It is no coincidence that centuries later, Jesus a son of David calls himself a shepherd, demonstrating that his mission is grounded in tenderness and compassion.1
St Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians encourages us to shine a light on our sins so that we can come out of the darkness and live in the light. [A reminder for us of the Pastoral area Reconciliation Service next Thursday at St Bede’s.] St Paul tells us to ‘have nothing to do with the futile works of darkness but exposing them by contrast.’
This contrast can be seen vividly in the Gospel, where Jesus restores the sight of a blind man and the Pharisees are so blinded by their jealousy and hatred for Jesus that they cannot see the Glory of Christ in their presence.
Notice how the blind man grows in faith every time he is asked about Jesus, by retelling his story his faith increases every time. When he is first asked who cured his blindness, he answers ‘The man called Jesus’. The next time, in front of the Pharisees, he says ‘he is a prophet.’ When questioned further he says ‘if this man were not from God, he could not do a thing.’ And when he meets Jesus again he says ‘Lord, I believe’ and goes on to worship Jesus.2 The man who was born blind now sees and tells all who will listen about Jesus. The Pharisees, the religious leaders of the day, cannot accept someone from outside of their image of the Messiah and so refuse to believe what they see.
Are there things in our life, which we are blind to?
Are we blind to the gifts we have in our own lives?
Are we blind to the hurt we unintentionally cause others?
Are we blind to the injustice all around us?
The man born blind, once cured, speaks without fear; realising that his new found sight can only be a reality through the power of God.
How has God affected our lives?
Are we prepared to speak without fear on how Jesus lives in us and informs the way we live our lives?
As mentioned in previous reflections, I am taking part in The Big Lent Walk for Cafod. The plan is to walk 200km during Lent. So far, I have walked 164km and have raised £435 for Cafod. I’d like to express my thanks for those who have sponsored me and all of those taking part in the Big Lent Walk, either as individuals or as part of Parish Groups.
If you are able to donate, and would like to support me, my page is https://cafod.enthuse.com/pf/tony-darroch
All donations are gratefully received.
This Sunday is Laetare Sunday, the word Laetare means rejoice and it comes from the first word of the Entrance Antiphon today, which is Rejoice Jerusalem. We are just past the halfway point of our Lenten Journey, for those who have stuck to their Lenten tasks the message is keep going, we are nearly there! For those who have struggled or given up, the message is start again, trust in Jesus, just like the man born blind. He was classed as a sinner and has now seen Jesus face to face. Those eyes which could not see anything have looked at the eyes of the Good Shepherd and experienced his tenderness and compassion. ‘Near restful waters he leads me to revive my drooping spirit.’
The Catechism of the Catholic Church
CCC 280, 529, 748, 1165, 2466, 2715: Christ the light of the nations
CCC 439, 496, 559, 2616: Jesus is the Son of David
CCC 1216: baptism is illumination
CCC 782, 1243, 2105: Christians are to be light of the world
Please keep in your prayers this week
- The success of the pastoral area formation programme ‘The Wild Goose’ which we are using as part of the Year of the Holy Spirit.
- Those who are sick, those recovering from surgery, those who are dying, the recently deceased and those who mourn.
- All those struggling to feed their families at this time.
- Those working to help others who are struggling with the cost-of-living crisis.
- All of our young people preparing for the Sacraments.
- Those attending the RCIA programme at St Bede’s on Wednesday evenings.
- The families completing the Baptism Preparation programme in St Bede’s on Sunday 19th March.
1 The Almanac for Pastoral Liturgy, [Liturgy Training Publications, Chicago, Illinois, 2022]130.
2 Robert Draper, Pastoral Review Vol 19 Issue 1,[The Tablet Publishing Company, Twickenham, London, 2022]83.